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I think teachers should definitely be involved in curriculum evaluation. Administrators should also be involved, because they have to oversee implementation and need to understand the process. To a certain extent, parents and community members should be involved. They should give feedback, but not have any direct say in decisions.
Teachers who make an effort to stay current - read journals, try new approaches, attend professional development and conferences not required by the district. Teachers who are creative, innovative and successful.
I must agree that it is the teachers who should hold the most important hand in curriculum evaluation. Secondly, students should be assessed as to how well a curriculum focuses on their changing needs. Unfortunately, the curriculum is typically looked at and derived by persons who are far from the "front lines". This detachment leads to detachment in the classroom as well.
It seems that the more influence that a teacher has over their own curriculum, the better the teacher is and the more engaged students are. This helps given the opportunity to teach what engages a teacher typically insures that the lesson will engage the students as well.
I also use my students as advisors as part of the curriculum evaluation process. it is important that my students deem a text workable and suitable for the assessments they attempt. It is not a case of whether they like the material as much as the fact that they need to be able to use the material I present successfully. Often I have adopted text, topic and theme suggestions that have come from conferencing with students. I agree with the above post that the final call rests with teachers and administrators, but a range of perspectives being available to help make these decisions is useful.
This is going to bring out many answers from the woodwork because I think that everyone has specific feelings about this. I do believe that curriculum evaluation and adoption should rest in the hands of teachers and administrators. I think that there is a role for parents, but I would see that as more of an advisory function that the administrators can represent well. When curriculum evaluation and adoption moves too far into the realm of the parents, I feel that more bad than good can come out of this process. Teachers should be the ones who can best identify where curriculum needs evaluation and modification, and can also seek out areas where adoption needs focus. In my mind, I feel that teachers can bring this to the administration who would be able to participate in this dialogue or offer new avenues to pursue. The idea of evaluation and adoption has to rest in the hands of teachers and administrators as they are the best equipped to project how students will respond to new curriculum and changes in it, and will also best be able to ascertain how student achievement can be maximized within the curriculum. In my mind, I think that the process and product of curriculum adoption should rest mostly in the hands of teachers and administrators.
I think that the most important people in evaluating what we teach is the teachers that have been successful for years. Respected teachers are good listeners and they are wise. The younger teachers would be the next to approach because they have just been to school and have learned what new methods and trends in education are successful. I think that the students need to feel ownership of what goes on in the room. Students will let us know what is important to them. The teachers need to help direct the students in their discussions so that they maintain a high level of thinking, analyzing, and synthesizing. Lastly, the administrators need to support the lessons and know what is going on in the classroom. I like postings online for the parents to evaluate, too. It does take a village.
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